Ask anyone in Australia what is the archetypal Aussie cake - the answer is bound to be a lamington. A square of sponge cake, rolled in chocolate sauce and coconut, you find them all over the country. I never expected to find them in Croatia!
Years of immigration have seen the introduction of a wonderful variety to food in Australia - what we eat and the way we cook it. I guess this is just a little reciprocation. I'd love to know who it was who turned the tables and took this little bit of Oz back to the old country. There they were though, in bakers everywhere, as Aussie as vegemite, lamingtons! I'm not so sure that it's been a fair trade.
Favorite thing: Wonderful as the water is in Croatia, some of the beaches are little more than concrete platforms over the water and others are very narrow. For someone coming, as I do, from a place where the beaches are wide stretches of pure white sand, these places hardly qualify as beaches at all. However, lots of them have what I would love to see here at home ... cafes right on the beach. Simple, a few tables and chairs under an awning or shady trees, somewhere you can get a beer or a coffee, where parents can watch their children playing just a few feet away from them, where you can sit in a chair (good for creaky joints) and relax by the water, stay for dinner if you like. We have have beautiful cafes at our beaches with balconies and terraces but none of them are actually down on the shore - and it's just not quite the same
It is very humbling to realise the terrible turmoils this lovely country (in fact the whole region) has been through & the galiant efforts it has been through to try & recover & attract tourists back.
I hope in 10 years I will be visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine - when the madness is over
Visit TROGIR, an historical town on a small island; a cathedral from the 13th century with the famous portal of the master Radovan, part of UNESCO's World Heritage.
Fondest memory: The town of Trogir is situated 30 km north of Split, don't miss it when around.
My favourite thing about Croatia is that, like in Spain where natural orange juice is really popular here it's natural lemon juice.
I always make lemon water, squeezing fresh lemon juice into mineral water. So you can imagine my delight when I order a Limunada and discover that's exactly what it is. They do supply you with sugar too, but I prefer it without!
This is not a favorite thing but I didn't know where else to put this tip.
Some stats taken in 2001
Croatia: 4,437,460 people
Zagreb: 779,145 people
Croatia is 56,542km2 and borders Slovenia, Bosnia-Hertzegovina, Hungary and Serbia and Montenegro.
Local time: GMT +1 which is the same for central Europe and one hour ahead of Britain.
Plitvicka Jezera National Park is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Europe. In a valley between high forested mountains lies, one bellow another, a string of sixteen beautiful lakes of a crystal blue-green colour. They are fed by many small streams and brooks and spill over into each other in foaming cascades and thundering waterfalls. Over the millennia, the waters of these lakes have dissolved the limestone rock and carved out the valleyin which they now lie.
Fondest memory: To see more about this wonder, visit my traveloques and the Plitvicka Jezera page.
In Croatia, be sure you try out the local Beer Ozujsko. There is nothing better than having a glass of beer in the hot summer afternoon. It costs 9KN.
Of course, piazza is so common nowadays and you have one time or another to try out the local favours.
Visit the pearl of Croatia, DUBROVNIK and its surroundings. The medieval town of Dubrovnik, which is surrounded by the high and well preserved city walls, is a must see when visiting Croatia.
Fondest memory: Dubrovnik is one of the best preserved medieval fortified cities on the Mediterranean; the Old Town is a part of UNESCO's World Heritage.
Is there still a war going on in Croatia?!
Despite the tragedy of war, Croatia's charms remain almost intact. Most of the tourist areas have been restored although the reminders of the country's painful history are still present. And no, there is no war, although there are still some ruins which can be seen [especilly in the eastern & the central parts].
I'm not gonna start talking about war because it's pointless. The biggest threat there is for you while being in Croatia are "destructive earthquakes" named in the CIA files, which I never heard of. So, don't worry & chill out! ;)
- Croatia controls most land routes from Western Europe to the Aegean Sea & Turkish Straits, so the roads are quite OK [new highways also being built...]
- although the literacy in Croatia, considering total population, is 98.5% (2003 est.), unfortunately not so many people speak English
- the conventional long name form is Republic of Croatia, the conventional short form is Croatia; the local long form is Republika Hrvatska & the local short form is Hrvatska
- the age limit is 18
- the currency is kuna (HRK)
- telephones: main lines in use: 1.825 million (2002); mobile cellular: 2.34 million (2002) [tending to grow because of the three new providers, two of them fixed & one mobile]
- Internet country code: .hr
- Internet hosts: 29,644 (2002); Internet users: 789,000 (2002)
- railways: total: 2,296 km [983 km electrified] (2002)
- highways: total: 28,123 km, paved: 23,792 km [including 410 km of expressways]
- ports & harbors: Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Dugi Rat, Omisalj, Ploce, Pula, Sibenik, Split, Vukovar (inland waterway port on Danube), Zadar aso.
- airports: 68 (2003 est.); the biggest one is Pleso, Zagreb [17 km from the city center; daily busses by Croatia Airlines]
- visas: Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, the USA & most continental European countries can enter Croatia for stays of up to 90 days without a visa; however visitors must hold a return / onward ticket, all documents required for next destination & sufficient funds
- time zone: GMT / UTC +1 [Central European Time (Rome, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris etc.)]
- dialing code: 385
- electricity: 220-240V, 50Hz
- weights & measures: metric
Croatia is a central European Mediterranean country, which borders with Slovenia in the west, Hungary in the north, Serbia & Montenegro in the east, Bosnia & Hercegovina in the south & Italy in the west (maritime border).
Croatia has a strange shape [of a croissant, let's say], like no other country in the world, which comes as a result of five centuries of expansion by the Ottoman empire towards Central Europe - although Croatia was never conquered by the Turks - we stopped them near the city of Sisak! :)
Croatia has been independent since Jun 25th 1991 (from Yugoslavia), which is also its National holiday. Croatia is not yet a member of the European Union (the EU border is Slovenia), but is an official candidate since Jun 2004.
Croatia has about 4,5 million inhabitants (2001 est.) & the capital Zagreb has around a million [although it sometimes feels like ten ;)]. Croatia is orientated towards tourism & that's mainly, and I repeat, mainly because we have a beautiful coast!
There are many other things, of course, but Croatia is characteristic for its huge diversity, considering the rather small geographical area. There are big differences between the southern & the northern; coastal & continental regions, which include culture, geography, customs & even language! When you drive from Zagreb to Rijeka (it takes about 80 minutes by car by the new highway) you start in a valley, then go up to 2000 m high mountains & enjoy the view overlooking the coastal part. If you drive a bit more (e.g. Istria) you'll pass the heart of the peninsula filled with tiny cities situated on hills (absolutely fabulous!) where you'll see all the signs in Italian (since Italian is the second official language - besides Croatian).
Croatia has eight national parks: Brijuni islands, Risnjak mountain, Paklenica canyon, Kornati islands, Plitvice lakes (Plitvicka jezera), the island of Mljet, Krka waterfalls & Northern Velebit (added recently).
The Adriatic coast or Jadran, as we call it in Croatian, is one of the warmest, saltiest & the most rugged coast in the world. The stretches on for 5835 km (4057 km of which belongs to islands, cliffs & reefs), including 1185 islands - therefore also called the country of a thousand islands - most of them too small to be inhabited, but when combined together (like NP Kornati), they make a wonderful combination! The biggest islands are Krk, Cres, Brac, Hvar, Pag, Korcula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Rab, Vis & Kornati.
The forest & mountain region of Gorski Kotar is the perfect destination for nature lovers. The whole northern part of Velebit mountain is UNESCO heritage & a wildlife resort. You're passing it on your way to the sea-side, so take your time & take a look.
There are many more natural locations that are protected (around 300), some of them close to urban areas (like the mountain Medvednica north of Zagreb - you can't really miss it...) & some close to transport routes definitely worth seeing!
The central part of Croatia has its main interest in sacred objects, museums & castles: Trakoscan castle, Veliki Tabor, Varazdin, Kumrovec, the Upper City in Zagreb, the cathedrals in Zagreb, Osijek, Djakovo a.s.o. The rural Zagorje is filled with charming villages where wild life seems to outnumber human beings & the hills are crowned with romantic castles surrounded by vineyards, amazing panoramic views & endless possibilities for rambling.
"The Inland region of Croatia is dotted by small wooded hills with churches, romantic castles, crystal clear streams & lush vineyards. After the Loire Valley, this region has the highest concentration of castles in Europe. The Croatian inland offers peace, unmatched scenery, tasty local specialties & great wines of the region."
Croatia homepage: www.hr
Croatia Tourist Board: www.croatia.hr
Passports & Visas: www.mvp.hr
Croatia Tourist Board: www.croatia.hr
Visit Croatia: www.visit-croatia.co.uk
Find Croatia: www.findcroatia.com
Croatia Airlines www.croatiaairlines.hr
Air Adriatic http://www.airadriatic.com
Croatian Railways: www.hznet.hr
Zagreb Central Bus Station: www.akz.hr
Jadrolinija ferries: www.jadrolinija.hr
SEM ferries and catamarans: www.sem-marina.hr
Miatours hydrofoils: www.miatours.hr
Croatian Automobile Club: www.hak.hr
Croatian Post: www.posta.hr
Phone companies & Online Phone directories:
Croatian Telecom: www.t-com.hr
Vip Mobile: www.vipnet.hr
Cronet Mobile: www.t-mobile.hr
Weather Institute: http://vrijeme.hr
Croatian National Bank: www.hnb.hr
There are over one thousand of islands in the Adriatic, most of them completely deserted today. The bigger islands, except for the island of Vis, are located only a few milles away from the mainland and very well connected by the frequent ferry-lines.
Fondest memory: During the year, the life on the islands isn't very easy. Sometimes, under the strong wind called "bura", most of the islands might be isolated for days. It is advisable to avoid traveling to the islands during the winter season.
On the other hand, spending your summer holidays there is strongly recommended.
We didn't stay here but we entered several times. We had a couple of drinks in the lobby as we were...more
We stayed here from 30 Dec 2011 to 1 January 2012. This is truly an excellent hotel. Staff and...more
The guide told us it was situated so close to the center that we could walk back there, but the bus...more
More Regions in Croatia